3407 Families Applaud Snowe, Boxer, and Commerce Committee for Introduction of FAA Reauthorization Bill in Senate Print

Buffalo, New York- July 19, 2009 - The 'Families of Continental Flight 3407' applauded the Senate Commerce Committee and Aviation Subcommittee for the recently-introduced FAA Reauthorization Act, and urged its expedient approval by the entire Senate.

"Kudos to Senators Snowe and Boxer for getting the ball rolling in terms of aviation safety legislation, and the same to Senators Rockefeller, Hutchinson, Dorgan, and DeMint in acknowledging and moving to address many of the mistakes associated with the tragedy of Flight 3407," stated Ken Mellett, a Virginia resident who lost his son Coleman Mellett in the crash. "We strongly believe that there must be one hundred percent access to a pilot's training record in the hiring process, and the central database created by this legislation will accomplish that. This will eliminate any excuses for carriers like Colgan in terms of performing their due diligence in the hiring process."

The group also praised the legislation for moving to improve the quality of training for all regional carriers, as well as for mandating the adoption of safety management systems that include industry-wide best practice programs.

"Unfortunately we have discovered that some of the regional carriers like Colgan have been taking shortcuts when it comes to using safety programs like FOQA (Flight Operation Quality Assurance) and LOSA (Line Operated Safety Audits) to give themselves a competitive edge when it comes to their bottom line," said Robin Tolsma of Lancaster, New York, who lost her husband Darren. "Shame on them and shame on their parent carriers like Continental for turning a blind eye to these practices, and many thanks to Senators Rockefeller, Dorgan, Hutchinson, and DeMint for moving to close that loophole."

The safety portion of the Reauthorization Act is just the first part of a three-pronged effort that the Family Group envisions for improving aviation safety for the traveling public.

"In addition to the issues addressed in the Reauthorization Bill, we must continue to monitor the FAA's progress with the action plan from the recent 'Call to Action' safety summit," declared Karen Eckert of Williamsville, New York, who lost her sister Beverly. "That will hopefully address some of the fatigue issues as well as continuing to zero in on the lower standards at the regional carriers. Finally, we look forward to the NTSB's final report and recommendations from this accident, and we will hold Secretary of Transportation LaHood at his word that these recommendations will be implemented by the FAA, especially in the areas of icing and cold weather operations."

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